An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1810.
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Roger Bigot, ancestor of the Earls of Norfolk, of that name, had a carucate of land, which 4 free-men of Suffield were deprived of, to which there belonged 7 borderers, and 4 socmen, 2 carucates, an acre and half of meadow, valued in Suffield; 4 freemen also held 80 acres, with 4 borderers, 2 carucates, and 2 acres of meadow, and a mill, valued then at 10s. at the survey at 16s. 4d. it was one leuca long, and 5 furlongs broad, paid 18d. gelt, and one of these 4 men was under the predecessor of Robert Malet. (fn. 1)
Here was also a small tenure in the Conqueror's hand, which Offert, a freeman, possessed in the Saxon time, 6 acres valued at 6d. and Godric was the King's steward of it. (fn. 2)
Isaac, son of Abraham de Felmingham, had 28s. of land, which was formerly the King's land, and William, son of Isaac de Felmingham, gave 100s. relief for a carucate of land, that Isaac held here and in Becham in capite, in the 12th of Henry II. (fn. 3)
Eva, daughter of Robert, son of Simon de Felmingham, and William de Holgate, son of William, son of Symon de Felmingham, and John de Trunch, son of Geff. son of Symon de Felmingham, having released to Eva, all their right; she, by deed sans date, released to the abbot of St. Bennet, all her right in the advowson of this church, and in the 41st of that King, Roger Bigot, Earl of Norfolk, released by fine a moiety of the advowson to the abbot. (fn. 4)
In the 15th of Edward I. Roger Bigod Earl of Norfolk had the assise, view of frank pledge, free-warren, &c. and in 1303, Gregory de Felmingham presented to the rectory as lord; Gregory dying lord of a fourth part of a manor in the 14th of Edward II. left 6 sisters and coheirs; Alice, who married James de Whitwell;—Catherine, wife of James Rightwys;—Ela, of Oliver de la Mowe;—John, rector of Felmingham, by Egidia, or Elizabeth, another sister;—also Christian and Joan.
In 1322, John Rightwise presented to the rectory, and in 1349, John de Whitwell, which John, and John Michels, were found to have an interest herein in the 47th of Edward III. and John Whitwell and Margaret his wife, were living in the 10th of Henry IV.
John Whitewll, Esq. died lord in the 7th of Henry VI. and seized of the advowson, leaving Thomas his son and heir, and was buried in the chancel of this church; and Richard Whitwell, in the 20th of Edward IV.
John Whitwell, by his will, proved May 8, 1546, was buried by his mother in the chapel of St. John Baptist, in this church; he appoints his cousins, John and Miles Gross, Gent. his executors, and having no issue, Anne his sister, wife of Richard Crofts of Wytton, was his heir, who had livery of it in the 35th of Henry VIII. and on the demise of the said Ann, Thomas her grandson, son and heir of her son Henry, had livery in the 1st of Queen Mary.
In the 8th of King Charles I. Thomas Crofts, Esq. of Felmingham. and Phillis his wife, settled it on John, his son and heir, and Jane, daughter of Thomas Tilney, on their marriage, and in the 11th of that King, the said John and Jane, had license to alien it to Sir William Denny, Knt. of Norwich, by deed dated June 18, and in the following year, September 1, Thomas Croft, the father, joined in the sale.
Richard Berney, Esq. (son of William) of Swannington, by his will dated October 2, 1675, was buried in the chancel of Swannington church, gives to his sister Anne, (fn. 5) this lordship, &c. who dying s. p. in 1679, William Bladwell, Esq. in right, probably, of his wife Phillippa, who was mother of Richard and Ann Berney aforesaid, and daughter of Thomas Brown, Esq. of Elsing, possessed it, and so it came to Gyles Bladwell, Esq. his son, and half brother to Ann, aforesaid, who was lord in 1715, and afterwards sold it to Talman, who possessed it in 1740.
In 1321, Sir Ralph de Skeyton released to Alice Breton, and her heirs, and to Robert Brian of Felmingham and Hawise his wife, and their heirs, all his heirs, claim in the homages, services, &c. which they held of him, and in the 26th of Edward III. William Bryan of Felmingham, and Joan his wife, were querents, and William de Wychingham, deforciant, who settled on Bryan, a lordship 5 messuages, 80, acres of land, with 28s. rent.
John, son of Roger Leese, and Christiana, his wife, convey to William de Smalburgh, and his heirs, the moiety of the manor of Felmingham, with messuages, rents, &c. here, in Antingham, &c. to be held of the heirs of Christiana, and in the next year Thomas Atte Grene and Alice his wife, granted by fine their right or share to Thomas Flitcham.
The abbot of St. Bennet at Holm held at the survey, and before, 77 acres, with 5 borderers, one carucate in demean, and half a one among the tenants, and an acre of meadow, 4 socmen also had 50 acres, a carucate and an acre of meadow: there was a church with 2 acres, valued at 20s. (fn. 6)
Robert Rugg, citizen and alderman of Norwich, farmed it in the 4th and 5th of Philip and Mary, of the Bishop of Norwich, at 6l. 13s. 4d. per ann. and was called the Chambere's manor, with the fishery, &c. and extended into North Walsham, &c.
The family of Rugg, took their name from a lordship, or hamlet in the town of Pattingham in Staffordshire, and were of good degree and eminency; (fn. 7) the younger branch came into Norfolk: in the 49th of Edward III. Nicholas Rugg, second son of John Rugg, of Rugg, seated himself there, and was father of Clement Rugge, who was living in the 12th of Henry IV. his son William was father of Thomas Rugge, who occurs in the 23d of Henry VI.; and left Robert Rugge of North Repps, his son and heir, in the 2d of Edward IV. father of William, whose son Robert lived in the 1st of Edward V. and was father of William, of North Repps, Gent.
William Rugge, Esq. of Felmingham, is said to have changed his arms, per fess, sable and argent, and unicorn saliant, counterchanged, armed, mained and unguled or, to that of gules, a chevron engrailed, between three mullets pierced, argent; but Richard de Rugge, who lived in the 2d of Richard III. and the Bishop of Norwich, bore, as it appears, this last coat.
The Church is dedicated to St. Andrew, and there were 4 portions, or parts belonging to it, 3 of which were appropriated to the abbey of St. Bennet of Holm, (fn. 8) who had a manse, with one acre and a half of land, and these were valued at 27 marks; this was in the time of Walter Suffeld Bishop of Norwich, and a vicarage was founded, valued at 5l.—Peter-pence 15d. ob.; the present valor of the rectory is 6l. and is discharged.
William, son of Isaac, was about this time (temp. Henry II.) the true patron; after him, Robert, the chaplain of Felmingham, held the whole church, and so did Master Roger, son of the said Robert, and Thomas, the archdeacon, held the same on the presentation of Thomas, abbot of Holm, in the time of John of Oxford, Bishop of Norwich, in whose time a division was first made, on the claim of Abraham, father of Isaac, in the King's court; on which the 3 parts of the church belonged to one rector, presented by the abbot, and the 4th part, or portion, to another rector, to be presented by the said Abraham and his successours.
Of this 4th part William de Wroxham was rector, then Hubert Walter, which Hubert, (as I take it,) was afterwards, Archbishop of Canterbury, who resigned it to master Thomas de Weston, then Richard, who held it 28 years, on the presentation of Isaac his brother.